Still No Sympathy for the Poor

Here’s Bryan Caplan:

What about the “losers”? Bite your tongue. When you call lower-income people “losers,” you’re falsely assuming that we’re all racing for the same finish line: material success. But to a large extent, lower-income people are just racing for other finish lines. Leftist outrage over income inequality is therefore deeply misguided. To a large extent, incomes differ because priorities differ. And if the poor don’t consider their lack of riches a big deal, why should anyone else?

As I wrote before, most poor people are where they are because of the choices they’ve made in their life. In fact, it is fair to say that, all things being equal, they don’t want to be rich. They would rather have whatever they have instead of wealth.
Note that this isn’t some deep psychological analysis, but rather a tautology: by their fruits ye shall know them. You can tell that most poor people want to be poor (or, more accurately, have what they have instead of wealth) by the mere virtue of the fact that they are poor. At this point in time, the markers of poverty are fairly well-known, and so only the astonishingly ignorant do not know what is needed to avoid poverty.
Thus, most poor people know that their past actions would likely lead to poverty, yet they made them anyway. Since they knowingly made those decisions, they are no more deserving of anyone’s pity than child who sticks his finger on a hot stove after being told not to do so.
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1 comment to Still No Sympathy for the Poor

  • Melodie

    Come on are you really that fricken ignorant as to think poor people want to be poor???? No we might not require all of the riches that some have but we would and do require enough to give our children better lives than always having to hear “No we are too poor to afford this….” As for us poor people knowing our past would lead to making us poor today that is a load of crap because there are judges sitting on thier benches that drink and drive, party hearty and live the same lives that I have lived in my past but yet they arent living the life that I am living…why??? Let me be the first to inform you as to why that is…It is due to the fact that they were born to parents that had the money to help buy thier way out of trouble when they got into it where as my parents wanted me to learn my lesson and let me suffer the consequences that were befitting of my actions…In my opinion all of you individuals always going on and mouthing about us poor people really ought to walk a mile in our shoes and situation before running your mouths about us….live my life then sit back and run your mouth if you have the balls to do so..

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